The European Parliament has approved a multi-billion euro EU Defence Fund described as “terrible and highly political” by a senior British Armed Forces veteran, as the bloc’s plans for a European Army — once dismissed as “fantasy” — plod forwards.
The €13 billion EU Defence Fund was approved by 328 votes in favour to 231 against, according to Forbes, and helps move forward European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s agenda for a Defence Union — which eurocrats have become increasingly open about since the Brexit referendum was got out of the way in 2016.
“More defence co-operation in Europe is essential to address the growing global instabilities and cross-border threats to our security. It is clear that no country can do this alone,” claimed Elżbieta Bieńkowska, a member of the unelected European Commission, which acts as both the EU’s executive arm and the sole initiator of EU-level legislation — with the European Parliament having a subordinate role amending and approving bloc law.
“The European Defence Fund marks a big step forward in European defence matters. By promoting a strong and innovative defence industry, the Fund will strengthen the EU’s strategic autonomy and technological leadership in defence,” she added.
Critics see things differently, however, warning that the EU’s centralising military ambitions will undermine the trans-Atlantic NATO alliance — which most EU member-states are underfunding as it is — and hollow out the ability of national defence industries to act on their own initiative or in concert with partners outside the EU, such as the United States.
Trump Blasts Macron’s ‘Very Insulting’ EU Army Call https://t.co/jtu4zcetZ1
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 10, 2018
Speaking for Veterans for Britain, a pro-Brexit pressure group led by and representing Armed Forces veterans, former commander of British forces in Helmand, Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp told Breitbart London that the scope of the fund — which he described as “a triple bribe for policy compliance” — would actually extend far beyond its €13 billion headline price tag.
“Member-states have to comply with EU defence policy just to be in it, then they have to abide by the fund’s governance structure overseen by the EU Commission, and then the fund is used as an incentive for member-states to adopt changes the EU wants to impose on the actual national budgets of member-states,” he suggested.
“It is not a collaborative industrial scheme,” he warned. “It is a policy grab.”
Colonel Richard Kemp and Rafael Bardaji write for Breitbart London: https://t.co/JpyKULyQB0
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 16, 2017
Colonel Kemp, a noted advocate for Israel and robust counter-terrorism measures who weighed in on the Brexit referendum debate in 2016 to dismiss then-prime minister David Cameron’s allusions to an exit from the EU leading to war as “beyond parody”, further denounced EU military integration as “an anti-democratic travesty, not least from our own ministers who consciously overrode standard Parliamentary scrutiny procedures in order to put the United Kingdom in it.”
“The very fact that it is a magnet for policy compliance is dangerous for our democratic control of defence and our relationship with the U.S.,” he warned.
EU Army ‘Already Taking Shape’ Brags German Defence Minister https://t.co/8Ofyx37gtW
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 12, 2019